Catholic Church Description Of Chaucer Essay Research

Catholic Church Description Of Chaucer Essay, Research Paper

Geoffrey Chaucer uses some of the characters in the Canterbury Tales The

Prologue in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales to point out his view of what was right

and wrong within the Church during his time. He uses the Prioress, Monk, Friar,

Summoner, and Pardoner to illustrate what he saw wrong within the Church.

Chaucer uses the Clerk, Parson and the Plowman to illustrate the attributes the

Church should possess. The Prioress is a nun who is probably equal to the rank

of Mother Superior. She does not show the humility or dedication to God. Her

compassion is shown towards animals. She makes sure her animals eat the best

meats. She is more focused on natural love than agape love by the brooch she

wears which says "Love conquers all". She does not spend her time

fasting because the author lets us know that she is fat. In correlation to the

Church, the Prioress shows the Church’s lack of dedication and humility towards

God. The Church is more concerned with matters which do not deal with the

deliverance of the human soul. Like the Prioress, the Monk does not walk in his

calling. He is the monastery’s outrider. This position allows him to roam the

countryside at his will. Instead of being separate from the world, he is of the

world. He loves to hunt and enjoys riding his horse. He does not value the

teachings of his monastery because he feels they are somewhat strict. The Monk

does not like to study. "Why should he study, and drive himself mad, Over a

book in a cloister always to pour, Or work with his hands, and labor, As St.

Augustine bids? How shall the world be served? Let Augustine have his work to

himself reserved (12-13)." Chaucer sees the Church through the Monk as

being more involved in its own affairs. The Church has gotten away from the

basic Bible teachings and has instituted its own. Huburt, the Friar, like the

Prioress and Monk, is not operating within his vocation. He does not spend time

with the poor ministering to their phsyical needs as well as their spiritual

needs. The Friar believes that because of his status he couild not spend time

with these needy people. "It was not fitting, considering his position, To

be acquainted with sick lepers. It is not creditable, it holds no profit To deal

with any such paupers" (16). He spends time begging for donations from the

rich farmers and other worthy women of the town. For a price he will hear

confessions and give penance. He believes that "? instead of weeping and

prayers, Men should give silver to the poor friars" (15). This pilgram

shows the Church being more concerned with the financial support for itself than

the spiritual needs of the congregation. The Church has devised a way in which

to collect money from it’s members by promising them forgiveness with dollar

signs attached to it. The Summoner is responsible for issuing summons for the

Church to people who have violated Church doctrine. His position is interesting

because he is handing out summons for people to appear before the Church when he

himself is living in direct violation of Church doctrine. The Church seems to

see what is wrong with everyone else but cannot focus on it’s own violations of

the doctrine taught in the Bible. The Pardoner is the most corrupt pilgram. He

provides paper indulges for a price. These indulges are part of the scam the

Pardoner is running. He also offers junk for sale which he says were relics of

the saints. The Church has developed another mechanism for making money. It uses

the selling of crosses, statues, and other trinkets which are supposed to remind

us of what Christ has done for us. If these items were really to remind us of

what Christ did for us they would be free, since Christ gave his life freely.

The Clerk is the first pilgram Chaucer birngs into the script which has some

godly attributes. He spends time in prayer and fasting because the narrator lets

us know that he "?wasn’t exactly fat, ?"(19) and "?busily

prayed for souls" (20). He only spoke when it was necessary and when he did

speak people listened to him. "And that was said with care and respect,?

Resonant with moral virtue was his speech," (20). The Church lacks this

characteristic based on the corruption which Chaucer points out in the pilgrams

listed above. The Parson is the ideal clergyman. He places his congregation

above himself. He visits each member of his parish no matter what the weather.

He was rich in holy thought, patient in adversity and doesn’t nag his parish for

contributions. He is truly a shepherd in word and in deed. "That first he

practiced, and afterwards he preached;" (32). The Church needs to be like

the Parson, a doer of the word instead of a hearer only. The Plowman is the

brother of the Parson. He is a good man, also. He possesses humility. He lived

in "?peace and perfect charity"(34). He did not have any problems

with doing the jobs no one else wanted to do. The Church is low on the attribute

of humility. The Church wants to be the center of attention instead of focusing

on the needs of the people. Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales The Prologue points out

the corruption within the Catholic Church.


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